What Makes the Whole More Than the Sum of Its Parts?
A living being is more than the collection of the multitude of organic components of which it is made.
Some Things We Can Know
Those who study historical topics such as origins often face questions for which no easy answers are evident. Published in Origins, v. 65.
DNA and Design
Imagine walking down the beach and coming across the words “Romeo loves Juliet” written in the sand. Most of us have experienced something like this and would not be surprised, but most people would be surprised to find the entire text of William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet written in sand. Why is this? The obvious reason is that sand is the wrong material for large writing projects. Sand grains…
Would You Move to an Exoplanet?
If given the choice where in our Milky Way galaxy you would prefer to live, where would you go? To one of those newly-discovered extra-solar planets the media get enthusiastic about when water has been detected there?Before you answer these questions remember that, beyond the presence of water, many other conditions must be fulfilled before any planet can support the continued existence of life as-we-know-it,…
Organisms in Their Niche: Passive Modeling Clay or Problem-Solving Entities?
One person’s cultural background can bias their view about people from other cultures… even before they have ever met. Could people also have a bias about how they think about other creatures? It may even be possible that scientific culture could prejudice the way researchers see creature-environmental relations with the potential to bias whole research programs.
Microbes, Symbiosis, and the Lesson of Interdependence
A very common reaction to the thought of “microbes” is a compelling desire to slather up in hand sanitizer! However, it is seldom realized that the greatest majority of microorganisms are at the very least not harmful, and at the most necessary for human life! Many aspects of microbial interaction with our environment allow it to be so perfect for humans. Some of these aspects include oxygen generation,…
The Exceptional Properties of Water
There is one small molecule that makes our world unique and special. What is it? Water! Sure, other planets and moons in our solar system may have (or had) water and even more than Earth, but it is rare to find liquid water on the surface of a planet.
Some Implications of Biological Information
A review of the book "Biological Information: New Perspectives," originally published in Origins, v. 64.
Design in the Physical Universe
Several years ago my wife and I were hiking in Utah at Arches National Park. The area was desert, so it wasn’t easy to pick out the trail, but we saw these little piles of rocks. If there had only been a couple piles and the piles contained only a couple rocks, we wouldn't have particularly noticed or at least would have thought it was just a natural coincidence. However, the piles contained several…
Biomimicry: The Search for Brilliant Design
The West Chester University Professor of Biology, Frank E. Fish, was vacationing along New England's coast frequented by magnificent humpbacked whales. While browsing in a gift shop one day he couldn't help but notice a gifted sculptor’s rendition of one of the splendid creatures and commented to the shop owner that the artist had put bumps on the wrong side of the pectoral fin. The bumps should be…
The Perfect Wing Stroke
What is the utility of a fourth or a fifth of a wing stroke? Could any insect or bird get by with a wing that is a fraction of its normal size? Could it serve its purpose working at a reduced capacity? These questions are a challenge for those who accept Darwinian gradualism and adaptation. According to the Darwinian evolution theory, biological traits arise by small genetic variations steadily modifying…
Birds and Flight
Recently I flew to London on the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Despite what media hype might lead a Dreamliner passenger to expect, there were no fires on board and the experience wasn’t particularly different from what I’ve experienced on innumerable other flights. From my perspective, the seats were too small, too close together and too hard. That is not to say that there were not some differences,…
Is there design in nature?
The argument from design The argument from contrivance William Paley published a book in 1802, entitled Natural Theology: or evidences of the existence and attributes of the Deity. Paley made the claim that nature is full of features that show evidence of design. He called them "contrivances," and compared them to man-made devices or machines. Paley's argument can be phrased in terms something…
Design in Nature
One day I was standing with my friend Henry Zuill next to a pile of gravel. Henry happened to look down at the stones as we talked and, as I followed his gaze, we both saw something surprising, a stone spearhead. Even though it was in the middle of many other chipped and broken stones, there was no mistaking it. Most people have little difficulty differentiating things that are designed from those…
Beauty and Intelligent Design
Beauty is a quality of existence that has engaged philosophers since Plato. It is an ancient ideal we should pursue, along with goodness and truth. From classical times its hallmarks were harmony, proportion and coherence, or unity. There is also beauty of sound, as in good music, and delicacies of touch, taste and smell. There is beauty of thought and imagination derived from the creative minds…
When Science Rejected God
At present, there is an almost absolute exclusion of God from scientific textbooks and journals. Unfortunately, such a closed attitude prevents science from following the data of nature wherever it may lead. Science cannot evaluate evidence for God as long as He is excluded from consideration.
Science and Design: A Physicist’s Perspective
As science develops more complete naturalistic explanations to describe the universe, it may appear that there is less room for God in the picture. And if science ever discovers a “complete” theory, it could be presumed that it would describe a universe without God. I am confident, however, that this conclusion is neither necessary nor valid. Drawing upon examples from physics, my purpose is to show that in developing a more complete picture of the universe, scientists are led to greater evidences for God and His design.
A Critique of Current Anti-ID Arguments and ID Responses
There have been a number of carefully written books and articles arguing that ID has failed to make its case. ID advocates have published responses to these arguments. Which of these lines of argument is most convincing, when compared to what is known about living systems?
Design in Nature: Millennia of Arguments
A huge amount of change has occurred over the more than two millennia since the time of Democritus. Design arguments that he and his intellectual offspring eschewed have gone through many iterations, experiencing periods of great success and times of decline, but have never been dealt a deathblow. In fact, they continue to thrive. The recent resurgence of design arguments, coupled with an explosive accumulation of knowledge about the molecular complexity of life and elegance in the universe life inhabits, suggest that the design inference faces a robust future.
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